"Mother foods" are "lactogenic" because they support lactation and increase milk supply. They are wonderful foods for mothers, and have been used for millennia in traditional cultures around the world. They address many aspects of a mother's health, and help with her full recovery after birth.
While most mothers can easily produce enough milk for their babies, they, too, can use knowledge of lactogenic foods and herbs during times when their supplies may be challenged, such as when returning to work, during illness, or their baby's growth spurt. However, no amount of galactagogues, whether food, herbs, supplements or medication, will increase lactation if the mother's milk is not efficiently removed from the breasts. If a mother experiences unexplained low milk supply, she should seek the guidance of a lactation expert such as her local LLL-leader or IBCLC. As well, she can begin learning women's wisdom regarding galactagogues and a lactogenic diet.
Some of these foods provide easily absorbable iron, and may ameliorate anemia--a common and often undiagnosed health problem for girls and women in the United States. Anemia (lack of red blood cells) is a frequent cause of depression after birth and a big contributing factor in low milk supply.
Liver and Gallbladder
Many of these foods contain substances that naturally support a mother's liver and gallbladder. They reduce the fatty buildup in the liver that routinely develops during pregnancy, helping prevent gallbladder disease (highly prevalent among women, especially during and after pregnancy) and inflammatory liver disease.
Most of these foods support the kidneys, reducing water retention (edema) in tissues (swollen ankles, wrists and fingers). Important: when blood is filtered through healthy kidneys, toxins are expelled in the urine, so that our other "organs" that the body uses to excrete water-soluble toxins (lungs, skin) are protected. When the kidneys are unhealthy, lung disease and skin problems are more likely to develop.
Intestinal Issues - Digestion, Candida
Nearly all these foods and herbs also improve intestinal health. They help you digest your food better. They reduce fungal infection of the intestine (and elsewhere), also called "candidiasis," and they promote stool regularity.
Low Milk Supply
Because I was a mother with true and persistent low milk supply, I was ecstatic to discover "Mother Foods" after the birth of my children. They enabled me to produce enough milk to exclusively breastfeed my third and forth children for more than a year.
Illness - Immunity Boosting
Years later, when I developed Lyme disease (through bacteria from a tick bite) I was able to use many of the same lactogenic foods and herbs, but this time for the purpose of immune balancing. Indeed, immune boosting herbs and lactogenic herbs are often one and the same. Some of the most widely used lactogenic herbs in Asia are powerful immune supporters, (ashwagandha, astragalus membranaceus, moringa, shatavari).
Lactogenic Diet for a Lifetime of Health
It doesn't take a genius to see that continuing with these foods throughout one's lifetime can help prevent common ailments, severe illness, and degenerative conditions. Why would any woman not avail herself of flaxseed and fenugreek to help prevent or curtail cancer? Many galactagogues are strongly anti-carcinogenic, but have received too little publicity to be known to most in the West.
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